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Aviation in Taiwan Part 1: Recalibration as events prompt changes at China Airlines & EVA Air

The last time there was so much change in Taiwanese aviation, there was cautious embrace of a new future. In 2009 there was the start-up of regularly scheduled Cross-Strait flights between mainland China and Taiwan. The historical moment was as symbolic as it was financial for Taiwan’s airlines, as the Cross-Strait flights offered plush yields and significantly boosted profits in an otherwise unremarkable market.

Change is again the theme in 2016. The reasons are varied and not clearly producing pessimistic or opportunistic views, but uncertainty is uncomfortable. Taiwan's two main airlines – China Airlines and EVA Air – have undergone management change as leaders became caught in the crossfire of non-aviation matters. EVA Air’s message is to continue with ambitious growth. China Airlines’ direction is less certain now that industrial action has saddled it with higher costs but the government could look to accelerate expansion, and perhaps rename the airline.

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